Photo by Elisabeth Behrman
When the helicopter landed in Bonnell Park, the air was swirling with leaves, dust and chaos.
It seems that the best and worst of America, is right here, in our face, so close we canâ€™t turn away from staring at the carnage. If your equilibrium feels a bit shaky right now, itâ€™s not without good reason.
HATE We received a call from a resident (who asked not to be named), who shared a chilling account of being assaulted by loiterers who hang out near the entrance to the Topanga Creek General Store. On October 8, 2020, one of them was ready for a fight should anyone suggest he wear a mask, as happened with the resident. He told the Canyon Chronicle that he was followed into the store to complain that he was being threatened, when the man came up behind him and put him in a headlock. Three other men, who were already in the store, beat him and tried to drag him out of the store, ostensibly to â€śbeat the sâ€”t out of him.â€ť The victim resisted and said that Simon, the store owner, broke up the melee and the men left. The victim walked away with bruises and a mild concussion, later confirmed by his doctor.
HOPE We suggested that the assault victim bring the incident to the attention of the Lost Hills Sheriffâ€™s deputy at the January Town Council meeting, which he did. The Town Council is following up with Lost Hills Sheriff who are investigating the incident further. We are reporting it here because it happened and people looked the other way while a man was beaten in front of them. It is the responsibility of the store to protect its customers and seek solutions that will ensure public safety. The Topanga community can surely support them in that effort and so will we.
HATE Almost three weeks ago, we experienced the insurrection at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, instigated by a sitting president, who may never be held accountable. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever hated anyone so much as Donald Trump. Four years is a long time to carry that burden and I still canâ€™t find forgiveness.
HOPE Finally, Joe Biden is President with Kamala Harris at his side. As usual, the Republican party have left a mess for the Democrats to clean up. Thank goodness, our new president has lined up a dynamic cabinet of people who know the importance of governing and how to do it.
HATE It took 40 years or so for the Republicans to get to the logical conclusion that is Trump and his dream of being â€śPresident for Life.â€ť Is that really what they want? Power is an irresistible seductress and sheâ€™ll turn on you in a second. Thatâ€™s what happens when the most important goal on your political platform is to win, at any cost.
HOPE â€śThe price of peace is eternal vigilianceâ€ť is a quote that comes to mind. Itâ€™s attributed to Leonard Henry Courtney, 1st Baron Courtney (July 6, 1832-May 11, 1918), a British politician. The full quote is worth putting in context because it has to do with absolute power: â€śThere is an imperialism that deserves all honor and respectâ€”an imperialism of service in the discharge of great duties. But with too many it is the sense of domination and aggrandisement, the glorification of power. The price of peace is eternal vigilance.â€ť (From â€śThe Life of Lord Courtney (1920) by G. P. Gooch) I have a feeling weâ€™ll all be hypervigilant for a long time. Courtney was also known to have made the first published reference to the phrase, also relevant to today: â€śLiesâ€”damned liesâ€”and statisticsâ€ť in 1895. He later became president of the Royal Statistical Society. (wikiquote.org)
In this issue, the beauty of hope is that when it manifests, it heals, or at least lightens the heart. We have an example (page 3). A reader, who wishes to be anonymous, wanted to sponsor a full page with examples of â€śacts of love. â€śFor me,â€ť she wrote, â€śLove is that secret agent inhabiting all of usâ€¦the 007 enabling and urging us to acts of patience and passion and pathos. We want to gobsmack people and renew their hope and courage in each other and the world.â€ť
Last weekend, Bonnell Drive wasnâ€™t the sleepy little neighborhood it usually is, what with a rescue helicopter landing in the park. While we wish the victim well, one good thing about a helicopter landing and taking off in the park was that it cleared the ankle-deep sycamore leaves. Of course, the street and neighborsâ€™ yards have yet to be raked.
Artist/sculptor Megan Rice is back in the game with a mini-exhibit of drawings and sculptures showing how she coped with the COVID-19 shutdown (pages 10-11). The arts are alive (page 12) with a new song and video by Billy Joseph and his Army of Love; a Zoom performance of Morocco by Topanga Actors Company; and Topanga Galleryâ€™s current show, â€śNew Year, New Dreams,â€ť that goes through January 31. Eric Fitzgeraldâ€™s â€śRain Reportâ€ť (page 13) adds the science behind ancient adages to his musings about whether the drought has returned. Finally, Joel Bellman adds his take on the January 6 Capitol Siege with a look back at the 1993 bombing of New Yorkâ€™s World Trade Center and its relevance to today.